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Nature. 1983 Aug 18-24;304(5927):626-8.

Familial incidence of twinning.


The frequency of twinning among women who have already borne twins, the 'repeat frequency', is significantly higher than in the general population. Individual propensity is not necessarily genetic in origin, but pedigree studies (for reviews see refs 1, 2) confirm that twinning is a family trait. Studies based on archives restrict this conclusion to dizygotic (DZ) twinning and the maternal side, while studies based on interviews of relatives of twins find monozygotic (MZ) twinning and the paternal side also to be involved. However, interview studies can overestimate, while archive studies can underestimate, the real frequency of twinning. We have now analysed the incidence of twinning in the families of 950 zygosity-determined, unselected twin pairs under complete ascertainment. Our results indicate that a propensity to MZ twinning, as well as one to DZ twinning, can be inherited through the maternal line, and that the two mechanisms of twinning might be related. We have also found a paternal role in DZ, but not in MZ twinning.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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